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We’re conducting a snowplow practice run this week. Here’s how you can prepare for winter too.

SDOT team members prepare snowplows for the practice run on November 6, 2023. Photo credit: SDOT

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Quick link: Jump down to additional winter weather resources on the web.

We’re prepared to respond to winter storms. Today, November 6 and tomorrow, November 7, we’re holding a snowplow training exercise to test equipment and ensure our snowplow drivers are familiar with their routes. This training exercise is one example of the work that occurs year-round to prepare for winter storms and ensure our crew members are in good practice.

We monitor weather conditions 24/7 and will pre-treat major arterial streets before it begins to snow to prevent ice from forming. If snow begins to fall, crews will typically work 24 hours per day to clear Seattle’s most critical streets for emergency services and buses. Crew members from Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks and Recreation are also trained to drive snow response vehicles and are ready to help.

We prioritize plowing over 1,200 miles of Seattle’s most critical routes to hospitals, schools, emergency services, and shelters. As hard as our crew members work, it may take up to 12 hours after a break in the storm to clear all these streets.

What does the practice run include?

During this practice run, SDOT snowplow drivers travel the specific routes they would clear during and after a real snow and ice storm, following a network of pre-identified arterial streets all across the city. This helps drivers be familiar with the latest street conditions. At the same time, other City of Seattle specialists ensure vehicles, equipment, and supplies are where they need to be at several maintenance facilities in Seattle. This exercise also includes key contributions from SDOT equipment operators, dispatch and traffic operations center staff, auxiliary support crew members, and senior management.

Large trucks are at an outdoor facility on a cloudy day.
More heavy snowplow equipment staged and ready to roll in Seattle during the snowplow practice run on November 6, 2023. Photo credit: SDOT

You can count on us to clear major streets, but crews can’t be everywhere at once. It is everyone’s responsibility to clear ice and snow from the sidewalks around their homes and businesses to keep communities safe. It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do so that people of all ages and abilities can travel safely following a snowstorm if it becomes necessary.

As City workers prepare for snow, we are asking the public to help get ready too:

For more information and printable copies of our Winter Weather flyer, visit

A map of the snow plow route maps in Seattle. Gold and green lines depict where snow plows will traverse in the case of a snow and ice storm event.
Seattle Snow Plow Routes Map. Graphic credit: SDOT

Thank you for your interest and taking the time to help prepare in advance. We wish you a safe winter weather season in the months ahead.